Thursday, June 13, 2013

Want Better Hair? 5 Lifestyle Habits to Break Now

You can spend a fortune on beauty products that promise shinier, silkier hair, but to really have better hair you have to start with looking at your lifestyle. A healthy diet not only supports your overall body health, it also gives your hair the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. You really can't expect to have shiny, silky hair without it being healthy. So before you stock up on all the latest hair products, take a look at making some lifestyle changes to your diet and stress level. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself and determine which lifestyle changes you can make to have better hair.

1. Is Your Hair Getting Enough Protein?
Each strand of hair is made up mostly of protein. If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, then your hair will suffer. The average person has 120,000 to 150,000 strands of hair. Anywhere from 50 to 100 of these strands are shed per day. Hair growth goes through phases. Each one of your hairs has a growing phase of 2 to 3 years in which the hair grows about 1/2 inch each month and then a resting phase of 3 to 4 months. Hairs then are shed and new hairs grow to replace them. Without enough protein to support new hair growth you may have more hair in the resting phase than in the growing phase. If you start noticing a significant loss of hair, start noticing how much healthy protein you are getting in your diet.

When you start looking at the types of protein you have in your diet, make sure you are getting the "good proteins". This would include whole grains, soy foods, sprouts, blue green algae, fish, nuts, leafy greens, beans, carrots and white meat.

2. What Vitamins Does Your Hair Need?
Biotin is an essential B vitamin that promotes healthy hair growth, prevents breakage and protects against dry hair. As an extra bonus, biotin also contributes to healthy digestion of fats and carbohydrates. Foods such as beans, breads, egg yolks, fish, liver, meat, dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, whole grains and poultry are all sources for biotin. Your body however can produce biotin on its own. The healthy bacteria in your large and small intestine make biotin that is readily absorbed and used by your body. So one way to support your body in making more biotin for better hair is to support your gut probiotic growth with supplements of high quality acidophilus and bifidus.
Other nutrients to check for in your diet for better hair include vitamin E and certain trace minerals including selenium, copper, and magnesium
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3. Are You Getting Enough Iron?
Iron is another must for healthy hair. Meat is the main way most people think of to get iron in the diet, but stick with healthy meats such as pork, lean beef and fish. For vegetarians, look for cereals fortified with iron, soybeans, white beans, spinach and lentils as good sources of iron. The body does not absorb iron from plant based foods as readily as it does from animal sources, so even if you eat a lot of soybeans and lentils you may not be getting enough iron. Iron supplementation may be needed to get enough iron and you should check with your health care provider for testing to see if you need iron supplements.

4. How's Your Stress Level?
More than 20 million Americans suffer from health problems related to chronic stress and 95% of visits made to healthcare professionals are for issues related to stress. Stress alone may not necessarily cause hair loss but there are certain stressors mostly related to physiological change in your body that can be the cause. So for example if you lose a considerable amount of weight or your body goes through some other type of drastic change, hair loss can be a result. High fever or a severe infection, major surgery, certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders or a severe change in diet can all be physiological stressors that can affect your body and be related to abnormal loss of hair.

B vitamins, especially B-12, help us relax. When we are stressed, we tend to use up our body's supply of B vitamins and need to replace them before getting into a Catch-22 situation. Fortunately, we can replenish the body's supply of B vitamins naturally by replacing the probiotics or "friendly bacteria" in the intestines. These friendly bacteria produce the B vitamins in our bodies and taking probiotic supplements like acidophilus and bifidus can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins and help your body cope with stress.

5. Is Your Scalp Healthy?
Healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp. Getting omega-3 fatty acids in your diet does a lot to help keep your scalp healthy. Good sources for omega-3 include fish, nuts, leafy greens and AFA blue green algae. Most Americans tend to get too many omega-6 fatty acids in their diets and not enough omega-3s. AFA blue green algae is one of the best wholefood sources of omega-3 fatty acids and it has the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body needs.

How did you do on answering these questions? We hope it gave you some tips and ideas on how to have better hair before investing in all the hair beauty products the media assures us will make us all look like hair models. For any part of the body to thrive and look good, being healthy is the key. Making some of these lifestyle changes can go a long way to helping you and your hair look good and feel good.

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